A group of individuals from Ojibwe nations in Minnesota known as the “1855 Treaty Authority” staged a wild rice harvesting gathering in Nisswa, Minnesota on Hole-in-the-day Lake on August 27, 2015. The location is outside of current reservation boundaries, but within the territory ceded by the 1855 Treaty with the Chippewa. The group is asserting that because the 1855 Treaty did not specifically remove hunting, fishing, and gathering rights on the ceded territory, those rights still exist for tribal members off-reservation.
The Minnesota DNR issued one-day permits to diffuse tensions, but several members of the Treaty Authority continued to rice and gillnet the following day, and were issued citations for gillnetting without a permit. The final decision to formally charge the members with gross misdemeanors and bring the case to court is still forthcoming from the Crow Wing county attorney.
In 1999, the Supreme Court upheld the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s 1837 Treaty right to hunt, fish, and gather on ceded lands after determining that the 1855 Treaty did not extinguish those usufructuary rights. The Mille Lacs case did not decide whether the 1855 Treaty itself preserved off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights for other tribes in Minnesota.
The 1855 Treaty Authority previously attempted to get this issue into federal court in 2010, but the DNR did not issue any citations at that point.
Press release from the 1855 Treaty Authority here.
Letter to Minnesota’s governor here.
Response from Minnesota DNR here.
Previous coverage here.